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Should We Start Taking Manchester City Seriously?

The old adage goes that you should not look at the table seriously until after ten games. Nonetheless the furore over Nigel De Jong’s tackle on Hatem Ben Arfa has overshadowed the fact that Manchester City now lie second in the table. Tipped as potential top four finishers before the start of the season the question is do we now need to revise this prediction and consider Manchester City as genuine title contenders?

One reason why Manchester City find themselves so high up the table must be the poor form of rivals Manchester United and Arsenal. Although you would expect United to snap out of their form, there must come a point when some dodgy away form becomes a real worry. Their next game, at home to West Brom should be a three point banker despite West Brom’s recent good form. However their next away game at Stoke will however provide a decent test of the ability’s away from Old Trafford. As for Arsenal they have been hit badly by injuries this season and may have a tough time of things until they get their key trio of Van Persie, Vermaelen and Fabregas back and playing. Certainly if either Arsenal or United’s situation improves we could see City right up there by default.

A second reason why we may need to start looking at City as title contenders is they haven’t really played to there full potential yet. However they have managed to pick up a good return of points and picking up points without playing brilliantly we are often told  is the hall mark of good sides. Furthermore they have achieved this whilst bedding Toure, Milner and Silva into the starting line up. They have also been the only team to beat Chelsea this season making it three wins in their last three outings against the champions. One concern however is Mancini’s instance on playing Yaya Toure, Barry and De Jong at the same time. Three defensive minded midfielders is totally unnecessary unless your playing Barcelona even if Yaya Toure has been breaking forward. They would be better off in my view to bring Milner inside to fill the role he played last season at Villa and utilising Johnson and Silva on the flanks.  However Mancini has come out in Gazzetta dello Sport and said that the current system is not permanent.

“It’s out of necessity. [Emmanual] Adebayor has just recovered from injury, [Mario] Balotelli not so. Without flying full backs like [Jérôme] Boateng and [Aleksandar] Kolarov, who can push forward, I’ve had to adjust the team to get results and stay in touch with the leaders. But only until everyone is back and fit.”

A third reason for why they could challenge is the amount of depth City have to their squad. Talent wise if harnessed their squad is near on a par with Chelsea, United and Arsenal. However in terms of depth they are arguably stronger than anyone else in the league. This may help them come the long months of December and January. It also gives Mancini lots of options, with the players at his disposal to play 4-4-2, 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 as he pleases. They also have a joker up their sleeve in the form of Mario Ballotelli who looks on the one hand like he could be some kind of crazy Drogba-Henry hybrid or on the other a dressing room liability and a massive waste of money. If they get the best out of their squad and Ballotelli they could be in business.

Of course here may lie City’s downfall as I mentioned earlier they have not played to their full potential yet. Getting all their best players to gel together at once will be a hard task for Mancini and will involve difficult and controversial decisions. Which has potential to cause dressing room unrest, I’m not sure for example if someone like Emmanual Adebayor would take it too well if he ends up spending a season on the bench.

Undoubtedly is still far too early to say. Nonetheless in view of the evidence so far this season and a glance at the potential of their squad it maybe time to take Manchester City seriously.



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